2021 Multicultural Leadership Awards

2021 Multicultural Leadership Award Winners

Group Awards

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Outstanding Student Organization


Outstanding Student Organization Winner: Tibetan Student Association of Madison 

This award is designed to recognize student organizations that have contributed significantly to the campus around the issues students of color face. These organizations can be educational, political or social in nature and should serve the needs of multiple sections of the UW-Madison community of color. Organization must be registered with the Center for Leadership & Involvement.  Organization must develop positive collaborative relationships with other student organizations, community organizations, staff/faculty. Additionally, it must contribute positively to the personal development of its members; support other campus events as well as other student of color organizations; host events that meet the needs of students of color; and develop campus events that build and educate the campus community.

As an organization, they seek to raise awareness of Tibet’s rich culture, evolving politics, oppressed citizens, and growing diaspora. In doing so, they hope to foster a tight-knit community that allows for an inclusive atmosphere. This has become critical for many students of color as they lack a space where they feel a genuine belonging to. TSAM has now become a new found opportunity for Tibetan-American students to connect with their ethnic roots by learning and engaging with the greater Tibetan community beyond the UW-Madison campus. As members of an ethnic group fighting against institutional oppression of speech, representation, and religion, They understand the value and impact of solidarity.TSAM successfully encouraged other Multicultural Student Center (MSC) organizations to participate as well. These MSC organizations included the Pakistani Student Association (PSA), Kasper, LPhiE, and aKDPhi. During this campaign, TSAM held a fundraiser with PSA to raise funds for a local grassroots group, the Progress Center for Black Women, in which TSAM alone was able to donate over $1,000. These moments of unity and collaborative actions are indicative of TSAM’s value towards positively impacting the campus community.

Outstanding Social Media Engagement


Outstanding Social Media Engagement: Japanese Student Association

This award recognizes a student organization’s efforts on creating community, awareness, and engagement through social media avenues, in particular during the increase of virtual programs and opportunities. The organization’s engagement can be educational, social, cultural, or issue based, and centered around building community for their student organization, its members, and campus at-large.

This year, this organization transitioned to a virtual Discord server for all programming and a bulk of our communication. Through this quick transition amidst the pandemic, the organization created a community for our nearly 100 active Discord members. Using Discord, members regularly communicate via our “general” chat function, practice Japanese language via the “language-learning” chat, and more. Through this Discord, we have hosted Movie Nights, Social Justice Panels, Career Nights, and more with anywhere from 20-30 participants! By collaboration between the social media team and social justice team, we have created posts recognizing the Japanese American Internment Day of Remembrance, the rise in Asian Hate, and Indigenous Ryukyu and Ainu peoples, among other issues affecting the Japanese and Japanese American communities. The organization had struggled with having a large membership of students outside the Japanese community, particularly those who were interested in Japanese pop culture, but social media has been a way to put our Japanese and Japanese American student members first.

Excellence in Social Justice

Excellence in Social Justice: Gamma Mu Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc.

This award recognizes a student-led organization that has demonstrated excellence in social justice programming, efforts, and leadership during this academic year. Special consideration will be given to groups that have reflected programs focused on, but not limited to: Understanding Privilege and Oppression, Ally-ship, Community Organizing, Transformative Leadership, and Movement Building.

 This organization has dedicated itself to revamping their language, their presence on social media, and intention as a Chapter on this campus. They had the goal to reflect on language, events, and the way in which they interacted with others to not only grow, but admit past errors, educate themselves and the community about mistakes, and to continue to grow for future Sibsters to come. They held events like the Feminist Allyship Workshop focusing on power dynamics, feminist theory, pronoun usage, and how intersectional feminism is CRUTIAL in personal work, and for the community. They openly dropped terms that may be exclusionary of trans and non-binary women, and opened up the conversation to the chapter, and to community. This is an ongoing process, and they hope to continue to do their best to commit to intentional programming to make the chapter a safe space for all. 


Outstanding Campus Partner

Outstanding Campus Partner: Morgridge Center for Public Service 

Given to a campus department or staff or faculty at UW-Madison, this award recognizes those who have contributed to the success and advancement of students of color and/or student of color organizations. Nominees must show dedication to students of color and/or the climate for the multicultural community that is displayed through their active participation in the campus community of color, research, programming, and campus advocacy.

This year’s award goes to a campus partner that we share space with at the Red Gym. Through their partnership, we worked on elevating the vote in both fall and spring elections, particularly on creating access and providing information to communities and students of color on the importance of the vote. This office has also been intentional on creating access points and accommodations for all students who may have barriers that may prevent them from being involved in their programs, as well as highlighting and contributing to initiatives brought up by students of color on campus. 

Outstanding VIrtual Program

Outstanding Virtual Program: Punjab Farmer Crisis event hosted by the Sikh Students Association 

This award is designed to recognize events or programs that have made a significant impact on the UW community.  Programs can be an annual occurrence or new for a registered student organization of color, or formatted differently to accommodate the virtual setting. These programs can be educational or social in nature and should serve the needs of multiple sections of the UW-Madison community of color. 

This year’s student organization’s outstanding Virtual program focused on creating awareness about the farmer protests in India. This organization may not have too many members but is ready to partner and collaborate with some of the larger student organizations in order bring awareness to social justice issues, and particularly issues within their community. While the topic of the farmer’s protest may not have been known to many, the virtual event was intentional to provide background on the issue, current impacts, and bringing it full circle to campus as Wisconsin is also a large farming state with similarities, while lastly providing action steps. 


Individual Awards

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Established Leader

Established Leader: Nalah McWhorter

This award recognizes an established student leader who has shown exemplary leadership, service, and commitment to the University community. This student must show consistent leadership that is displayed through their active participation and commitment to an organization. Additionally, they provide leadership and vision for the organization; demonstrate ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with others; serves as a role model for new members and/or other students of color on campus.

  •  This student has been a voice for both activism and black empowerment since stepping foot on campus. She has work tirelessly to ensure black students felt welcomed on campus. This includes adding a multicultural space in the UW’s predominately white business school as well as advocating for the removal of racist figurehead and monuments scattered across campus including the infamous N-Head rock as well as the Lincoln Statues. Over the summer, she also served on a committee to create the Wisconsin Black Initiative Fund to financially support Black student organizations, departments and spaces across campus and the community. Currently serving as President of Wisconsin Black Student Union, she along with her organization has put on events such as For Colored Girls, showcasing and highlighting women of color both on campus and beyond that are pushing past previous set limitation. WBSU has also put on financial literacy events, a virtual walkout in honor of Breonna Taylor as well as countless general body meetings to connects students of color. This student is someone who the campus turns to when they need guidance and she has never been scared of challenging the status quo and advocating for better treatment of students of color.

Social Justice Initiatives Leader

Social Justice Initiatives Leader: Thida Chong

This award recognizes an individual student who has demonstrated a passion for social justice education, advocacy, and dialogue within communities of color on campus. This individual has provided leadership through taking initiatives focusing on identity intersectionality, social justice awareness, and inclusion on campus.

This student is a UW-Madison senior studying in the Business School and the former president of the Lao Cambodian Student Association, and a leader in the Sigma Lambda Gamma Nat’l Sorority Inc. – Kappa Gamma Chapter on campus, and treasurer of the Multicultural Greek Council. She has also served on the APIDA Heritage Planning committee, and an integral part of the APIDA student community on campus. In particular, she has taken her leadership skills and transformed them into being an activist on campus by serving on a number of events and panels to highlight the impact of COVID on communities of color and especially APIDA communities, as hate crimes and Anti-APIDA sentiments increased. She not only sees these as campus issues, but issues of social justice- work that is never really done, and cannot be done alone. Her involvement in her orgs and passion for justice is apparent to all who have worked with her. She has been a voice for advocacy, and hopes to continue her work after graduation too.

Emerging Leader

Emerging Leader: Caitlin Yang

This award recognizes a first or second year student who has shown their ability to be a leader on campus and in the surrounding community. This student shows strong interest in furthering their involvement in a student organization, program, or cause and to create a unique mark on the UW community.  Additionally, they demonstrate commitment to a cause/organization; potential for future contributions to the organization and to the rest of the campus community of color; outstanding leadership characteristics and skills

  • The person that exemplifies the Emerging Leader award is a current second year studying Microbiology with a global health certificate. They are involved in CeO, the Hmong American Student Association as the Public Relations chair and Secretary and aKDPhi as current secretary and Alumnae co-chair. They have also held the Wisconsin Asian Pacific Islander American Vote co-Liaison for aKDPhi. This year’s recipient is deserving based on their dedication and efforts to support the vision and goals of the organizations that they are a part of. Within HASA they are a critical member in fostering a sense of home within the Hmong American community on campus.
  • Within aKDPhi, they have integrated their professional skills to create organized meeting minutes and assist in bridging the gap between undergraduate and alumnae members in the organization. As a previous APIAVote liaison last semester, this year’s recipient and their co chair persevered through the pandemic and hosted three voter registration booths to increase voter registrations within the community. Knowing the significance of the election, they also helped aKDPhi collaborate with HASA and AASU in creating social media content that depicts voter locations and what individuals need on the day of voting. On top of their work ethic and the impact they have made in their respective organizations, passion is what fuels their actions and it is admirable to see them flourish as they also balance their academics as a pre-med student.

Campus Legacy

Campus Legacy: Karolyn “Chelsea” Hylton

This award recognizes a graduating senior for an exemplary track record of leadership, service, and commitment to the University community over their entire collegiate career. This award acts as the capstone leadership award for a senior who has worked throughout their collegiate experience to better the UW community (and beyond) and their own leadership skills.

This student co-founded two organizations that exemplify advocacy and ally-ship for underrepresented groups. She saw a gap in student orgs for BIPOC queer students as well as an org for pre-law Latinxs. Jessica founded Club Q and LPSA (Latinx PreLaw Student Association) and both are thriving orgs. She can always be counted on to get her academics done (3.3 GPA with two majors and three certificates. Aside from founding two orgs on campus, she is involved with many more including Sex Out Loud, ChiLaCSA, AIR, Lambda Theta Alpha, Latin Sorority Inc., LPSA, and Club Q. Jessica also interned at the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center. She is a pre-law mentor for the Legal Studies major. Lastly, Jessica has always worked 2+ jobs while in undergrad. This campus will surely be impacted by her involvement.

Outstanding Student Organization Leader

Outstanding Student Organization Leader: Carlos Puga

Given to the president/leader of a registered student organization that is also affiliated with the MSC as an organization serving students of color and multicultural students. The award recognizes the student leader’s commitment to campus involvement, upholding their organization’s mission, and their own leadership development. Nominees must one the leadership team of the organization as listed on the WIN page for the organization, and be an active and affiliated organization of the MSC.

 This year’s award goes to a student who is studying Legal Studies, Political Science, and Economics, with a certificate in Chicano & Latino Studies. Has been able to keep all three of the organizations he is involved with at a level 6/good standing with the MSC and is currently finishing his two-year tenure as President for the Gamma Theta Chapter of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. As well as a two -year term as a co-representative within ChiLaCSA, and his first year as co-president of LPSA. He has shown his dedication to the Latinx Community on campus and strives for unity amongst others to help advance the overall student experience. His involvement highlights his selflessness for his community and fellow peers in order to create a campus community that feels heard and represented. You join a long line of amazing student leaders that have captivated campus to be better and I am proud of all that you have accomplished.